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Rfl dfn cubaroca


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Rfl dfn cubaroca

  1. 1. Last of the "Working Group Dissidents" released in Cubaby Robert Lebowitz, Digital Freedom NetworkURL: 6, 2002) After four years in prison, Vladimiro Roca—"Cubas most famouspolitical prisoner"—walked away a free man.Roca, the son of the late Communist Party leader Blas Roca, was convicted along with agroup of three other activists in 1998 for publishing The Homeland Belongs to Us All, anessay which called for multiparty elections in Cuba and greater economic freedom.Rocas partners—Marta Roque, Rene Gomez and Felix Bonne—received3.5 years each, but were released last year.The decision to release Roca immediately precedes a diplomatic mission to Cuba byformer U.S. president Jimmy Carter. Many have speculated that the Cuban governmentfreed Roca in order to avoid U.S. condemnation.A rebellious sonVladimiro Roca is the son of the late Communist Party leader Blas Roca. However,Vladimiro broke from Cubas socialist system a decade ago and began calling for aWestern-style democracy.In the notorious essay, The Homeland Belongs to Us All, Roca and his fellow membersof the "Working Group Dissidents" urged the Cuban government to hold democraticelections, liberalize the economy, and improve human rights. They wrote The Homelandin response to an official Cuban Communist Party discussion document.Within weeks of publishing The Homeland, they were arrested and sent to separateprisons.In the spring of 1999 — almost two years after their arrest, and only after Roquethreatened to go on a hunger strike — the four received a quick trial.They were convicted of sedition, or trying to overthrow the government. Roca receivedfive years in prison, Bonne and Gֳ³mez received four, and Roque received three-and-a-half years.Bonne was released on May 12, 2000. Roque was released on May 16. Gֳ³mez wasreleased soon afterwards.A disturbing postscriptThis afternoon, the Digital Freedom Network contacted Roca at his home in Havana andarranged a time for an interview about his experiences. However, numerous attempts toreach Roca at the scheduled time were unsuccessful as a phone connection could nolonger be established.Apparently, although freed, Vladimiro Roca is still under a watchful eye.-------------------------------------------------------------------Copyright (c) 2002 Digital Freedom Network ( All rights reserved. Thisarticle may be reproduced or redistributed for online not-for-profit use without priorwritten consent as long as DFN is recognized with this credit.If you wish to SUBSCRIBE to this or other DFN newsletters, please go to this 1 of 1Mailgate: soc.culture.soviet: Last of the Working Group Dissidents released in Cuba5/16/2006